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I know that recently this club has come in for some heavy criticism, and has some serious questions to answer. As of 23 January 2017, I have decided not to rewrite or delete this page until we know the facts (if we ever do). What follows is an account of the fortunes of my favourite football team, when things were a lot rosier than they are now.
Thereís no doubting that the focus on modern English football is on the Premiership, and equally no doubting that smaller clubs, although moderately prospering in certain cases, are relatively worse off in terms of income and support than their bigger counterparts. The rich get richer, as in many walks of life. This inevitable but unfortunate state of affairs also partly explains why many people reading this page will have no idea at all who or what Crewe Alexandra actually is.
This is a tribute to the football team which became my leisure time and social life for about ten years. It may come as a surprise to many to learn that not everybody in England supports Manchester United or City. There are perfectly sane football fans who care just as much about Crewe, for example, as fans of the usual Champions League suspects do about their sides.
And some not so sane!
 

Dario Gradi MBE - Footballing Genius


A football team is more than a group of lads kicking a ball round. We fans donít follow a sport which stops when the referee blows the final whistle. The sport carries on in countless pubs nationwide, at bus stops, across mobile networks, on the radio. From 90 minutes on a Saturday stems an entire culture. The pitch is just the arena in which all our dreams and hopes play out. Some of us who were at Wembley when Crewe made it into the First Division will live to be 100 and yet still list it as one of our greatest moments. Eternal!
They were happy days, the dream that Dario Gradi built, when the worst professional team in England slowly started to move towards genuine success, churning out results and talent along the way, gaining a reputation as the fairy story of English football. The small town famous for a disproportionately big railway station became the small town with its footballing knuckles poised by the door of the big time. And we got better, and better, and better...
 

Shaun Smith at Wembley


Careful and intelligent planning led to a success which was for a while unmatched by any club of comparable size. We saw mediocre players come to Crewe to leave and play for top clubs, a few becoming the best players in the country, David Platt being the pick of the bunch. We saw young lads come through the youth structure and grace the first team before themselves moving on to play for the best teams, Danny Murphy is still the best of this band. We saw a side renowned for embarrassing defeats develop into a winning side with a deserved reputation for playing attractive flowing football as a team. We also saw the stadium develop from a few timber stands into a magnificent ten thousand capacity stadium. And we saw a club that by todayís rules would probably not even be playing in the professional league structure, nearly (not nearly enough) get into the playoffs for the Premiership.
I started watching The Alex when I was 17 when I got my driving licence and discovered that Crewe wasnít in fact on the other side of the moon. Supporting your local team is difficult when you barely know what it is. But discover them I did, a few games a season became a few games a week, and the love affair with the team I had to ditch when I moved to Italy began.

I went to all the home games, for a while in spite of being a hundred miles away at university, and many of the away games, clocking up some interesting trips thanks to my discount railcard. Hereford, Halifax, Bradford, Huddersfield, Wrexham, Chester, Preston, Blackpool, Rotherham, York, Lincoln, Plymouth, Stockport, Leyton Orient, Bournemouth, Wembley twice. I added more to my student debts in this way than in any other. I even waited 13 hours in a railway station once to avoid missing the early train to the playoff semi-final against Walsall, a game we won 5-1. My favourite away day was a trip to Hereford when I came back overnight, waiting two hours in each of three railway stations, not sitting down once. I arrived back at my university at about 6:00 in the morning and knocked the whole corridor up to announce the win.
Together with my uncle Mike I enjoyed a very happy decade following the fortunes of the Railwaymen. These days the potentially imminent return to glory owes to an excellent manager in Steve Davis and I am proud to openly support them in my South Cheshire exile. But so much has changed since the days a season ticket was an absolute must for me. Dario Gradi is no longer the manager, David Platt is no longer in the first team. Nor is Dele Adebola, Ashley Ward, Neil Lennon, Gus Wilson, Shaun Smith, Dean Ashton, Seth Johnson. It no longer costs £4 to watch a game, and I no longer go. Itíd be a long way from Kazakhstan maybe, but however you look at it and wherever I live, it was time to move on.